Italy, April 2020.
A Telegram group consisting of more than 43,000 male members is found during its daily activity. Several pictures a day are exchanged. The name of this network is too fierce to deserve a mention.
The aim of the group is to create a market of pictures of those member’s female partners, certainly, without the consent nor awareness of the victim.
Not just revenge porn
A perfect example of liberalized revenge porn, you will think. But this is not all. Looking deeply into the content of the chat, there is frequent presence of child pornography. Criminals and abusers look for approval of their worst perversions. These men can express their worst thoughts, without the fear of being judged. The group is full of “solidarity,” with reciprocal incitements to create more amusing content.
Well, the topic here is not on whether this absurd situation is right or wrong. Revenge porn, as well as child pornography, is a crime, and the law is clear on what should happen to people committing such unlawful acts: detention.
Nevertheless, the debate should be on what kind of sensitivity we have to this topic in a broader sense. As the story of Tiziana Cantone should teach us, people should be reluctant to view any of the pornographic content that has been shared without the consent of the interested party. What happens, instead, is that when somebody receives a picture/video of this kind, they do not criticize the act of their friend sending it, but rather the content is immediately forwarded to another person, creating a gruesome vicious cycle.
What people usually do not understand while doing such a horrifying act, is that they are ruining the life of the ones involved. The victim will experience sexist discrimination by people they love and by the community they are surrounded by. In most cases, but certainly not all, these are, unfortunately, revenge acts from a man towards a woman. This is because the patriarchy is still one of the most hideous stigmas of our world, and among the toughest to eradicate.
In conclusion, I would like to stress the point that if ever you happen to receive content which clearly does not entail the consent of the person involved, do not share it. On the contrary, condemn that act as you would condemn somebody who is inciting to suicide, because that is what is really happening.